Agent Gaetano Paolillo explains how Ricky Kaka’s star sign proved decisive, rejected Manchester City, offered Inter and never wanted to step out of Milan for Real Madrid.
Today is Kaka’s 38th birthday, and in May 2003 it was Paolillo who spotted a young Brazilian who was playing for San Paulo.
Paolillo told MilanNews.it that Kaka came back from an injury, so he was fantastic, scoring both a goal and an assist, but could probably have had two or three more.
“I introduced myself to his father and asked what European club Ricardo dreamed of playing for. He replied Milan. I asked for 30 days to make it happen and began pressing (then Milan CEO Adriano) Galliani, but it wasn’t easy, because they already had Manuel Rui Costa and Rivaldo in the trequartista role.
“At one point I even offered him to Inter, but Hector Cuper did not know what to do in a 4-4-2 formation with Kaka. No one else was interested in that which I found amazing.
“In the end, Cantamessa (Milan lawyer Leonardo) also did the astrological chart of Kaka and said we had to sign him because the stars were shining on this player. We got Galliani on board after Ariedo Braida was won over.’
Kaka excelled in Milan but the club was in financial difficulty and 2009 almost sold him to Manchester City for €100 m.
“Real Madrid would ask every year if Kaka was available, but Milan had always considered him off the market and so he decided to stay. This was, anyway, the plan.
“He left for international service after his last game with Milan in Florence in 2009 and took just a rucksack. He said we will meet back in a month at Malpensa Airport but when he was in Brazil, Milan sold Ricky to Real Madrid.
“He never wanted to quit, and not the money he won at Real Madrid. He was loved by the fans and more than happy at Milan, but the club put him on the market and Real Madrid was a good choice at that stage. It was not just a call from Galliani, he loved Ricky.
In 2013-14 there was a brief return to San Siro, before San Paulo and Orlando City.
“It was inevitable that he felt nostalgic for Milan because at first, no one wanted him to leave. We kept trying to get him back from 2011 onwards, but this only happened thanks to the relationship between Galliani and Florentino Perez who, by mutual consent, terminated the contract early to leave him home.